Sunday, April 4, 2010

Another Adelbert Volck Image: "Worship of the North"

A few posts ago I showed an image of a demonically influenced Lincoln working on the Emancipation Proclamation by Adelbert Volck. I wasn't aware that Volck produced so many images during the Civil War, but this is one that caught my eye as well. I am not sure if I would consider this a political cartoon or not. It is certainly a political commentary, but I don't know if it was supposed to be humorous when it was drawn in 1863 or not.

The image is titled Worship of the North, and incorporates many of the Republican and abolitionist personalities of the era. This image shows a host of individuals gathered around the "shire of the Negro," (with a bust of Lincoln on the right corner) labeled the "Chicago Platform," and says "The End Sanctifies the Means." The Chicago Platform refers to the Republican convention in 1860 that ended with Lincoln's nomination for president. An ominous John Brown pike rises from behind the seated black man. In front of the shire is an alter upon which the white man has been sacrificed to the various ills of the day. Those labeled ills included "Negro Worship," "Spirit Rapping," "Free Love," "Socialism," "Atheism," "Rationalism," and "Puritanism."

Henry Ward Beecher serves as the white man's sacrificial agent, holding a raised knife. Massachusetts senator Charles Sumner holds a torch to light up the bloody work. New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley holds a censer that emits a snake, and John Brown (St. Ossawattomie) stands on a pedestal to the right of the "Negro shrine." Other "worshipful" individuals pictured include: Vice President Andrew Johnson, General Winfield Scott, General Henry W. Halleck, General David Hunter, a kneeling and prayerful General Benjamin F. Butler, General John C. Fremont in buckskins, Massachusetts governor John Andrew, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton.

My interpretation of this image is that Volck believes that the Union war effort is largely a war to elevate the black man at the expense of white men. His choice of depicted individuals bears this out. While abolitionists and emanicpationists dominate the image, others personalities are merely supporters of the Union war effort and are implicated by that support.

1 comment:


    may have used this image, did you give him permission?